EU disease agency publishes COVID-19 insights

The ECDC said the COVID-19 pandemic had taught "valuable lessons" and stressed that there needs to be better preparation for future health crises

European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention


The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) on Tuesday published its conclusions drawn from the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU health authority said it had identified four areas where lessons had been learned.

These areas included investment in public health, preparation for the next health crisis, risk communication and community engagement and Collection and analysis of data and evidence.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us valuable lessons, and it is important to review and assess our actions to determine what worked and what didn't," said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon.

Some of the ECDC findings

The ECDC report highlighted the critical need for enough trained public health staff and said there needed to be continual capacity assessments of the health workforce needs.

Health care workers had been placed under significant pressure for extended periods of time which "resulted in significant burnout." This caused staff to leave or led to a decreased capacity to work. The ECDC said there needed to be continued investment in workforce capacity and work to recruit and retain skilled health professionals.

The ECDC pointed out that in many EU/EEA countries, the public health workforce was depleted during the financial crisis between 2008 and 2014 which would have contributed to there not being enough healthcare workers when the pandemic took hold.

The ECDC report said there was a need for updated and scalable preparedness plans and recommended developing planning, sharing national preparedness plans and conducting simulated exercises as some of follow-up actions.

Risk communication and community engagement were highlighted as key challenges throughout the pandemic and it was determined that communication capacity between the public and the media needed to be strengthened.

The ECDC said digital systems had helped surveillance of the pandemic and that those measures would continue to be used.

The global pandemic

On December 31, 2019, a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin was reported in Wuhan, China.

This was the beginning of what would become the COVID-19 pandemicwhich reached Europe a few weeks later.

According to WHO figures as of April 26 there had been over 6.9 million deaths reported globally.

The US recorded the highest amount of deaths globally, according to the most recent figures from Statista, with 1,161,164, followed by Brazil with 701,494 deaths.

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